Bitcoin Surges Past $40,000, Sustaining Bitcoin ETF Optimism

In the wake of pro-Trump supporters storming the Capitol in a historic insurrection, Bitcoin surged past $40,000 to notch a fresh record high on Thursday, as the total value of the entire cryptocurrency market crested $1 trillion for the first time, keeping crypto ETF dreams alive.

According to data from Coin Metrics, the digital coin hit an all-time high of $40,188 at around 1:15 p.m. ET, just several hours after crushing the $39,000 level.

Amid a deluge of volatile news headlines, Bitcoin surged another 13.1% from a day earlier. The cryptocurrency has already gained more than 30% since the start of the year, and in the past 12 months, has rocketed 400%.

Social Capital’s Chamath Palihapitiya projects even more upside after its already momentous rally.

“It’s probably going to $100,000, then $150,000, then $200,000,” Palihapitiya told CNBC’s “Halftime Report.” “In what period? I don’t know. [Maybe] five or 10 years, but it’s going there.”

“The reason [it’s going there] is because, every time you see all of this stuff happening, it reminds you that our leaders are not as trustworthy and reliable as they used to be,” he said. “So, just in case, we really do need to have some insurance we can keep under our pillow that gives us some access to an uncorrelated hedge.”

The news headlines may be helping the cause for a Bitcoin ETF, something that issuers like VanEck continue to champion.

A Fresh Drive

VanEck Associates Corp. initiated a fresh drive to launch an ETF tracking the world’s largest digital currency, according to a filing last month with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The VanEck Bitcoin Trust would reflect the performance of the MVIS CryptoCompare Bitcoin Benchmark Rate.
There have been multiple applications for crypto-tracking ETFs over the years, and the SEC has denied them all, which underscores VanEck’s commitment to the goal.
However, there have been some SEC changes, such as a shift in SEC leadership, where Jay Clayton relinquished his role as chairman and growing comfort with the crypto on Wall Street, which could favor an ETF this time, say, analysts.

“All indications from the SEC are that a bitcoin ETF still faces an uphill battle,” said Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, an investment advisory firm. “That VanEck has the confidence to file for a Bitcoin ETF might indicate some shifting viewpoints within the SEC. Clearly, a key to watch as this drama continues unfolding is whom President Biden taps as SEC chair.”

The value of the entire cryptocurrency market, which is made up of bitcoin and other digital coins like ether and tether, surpassed $1 trillion for the first time earlier on Thursday, according to data from Coinmarketcap. Bitcoin is by far the most dominant cryptocurrency, with a market value of over $700 billion.

Digital Gold

Many bitcoin proponents consider the crypto to be akin to “digital gold,” a possible safe-haven asset and protection against inflation.

In a recent research note, JPMorgan said bitcoin could hit $146,000 in the long term as it competes with gold as an “alternative” currency. The investment bank’s strategists noted that bitcoin would have to become substantially less volatile to reach this price, however, as the crypto is known for its extreme volatility and wild swings.

“This latest bull run in January is sure to attract the asset managers’ attention to diversify even more of their assets to crypto as they are keen on finding alternative investments, such as cryptocurrency or gold, to hedge inflation and geopolitical risks,” Simons Chen, executive director of investment and trading at cryptocurrency financial services firm Babel Finance, told CNBC.

“A large number of retail investors have also joined the race recently as they fear to miss out on opportunities to make easy, quick gain from the latest bull run,” he added.

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